Concerns raised over 48-home development in Hart village

Concerns have been raised over proposals to build nearly 50 new homes in Hart village.
The land at Hart where Gentoo hopes to build 48 homes.The land at Hart where Gentoo hopes to build 48 homes.
The land at Hart where Gentoo hopes to build 48 homes.

North East housing developer Gentoo Homes is consulting on plans to construct 48 properties on land off Palace Row in a development called Nine Acres.

It is for a mix of three, four and five-bedroom houses, two-bedroom bungalows and areas of open space which the developer says is aimed at meeting local housing need.

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But concerns have been raised over the potential impact on local wildlife by Hartlepool author and historian John Riddle.

The proposed plan of the housing development.The proposed plan of the housing development.
The proposed plan of the housing development.

He said: “The land is currently home to the field vole which is rarely seen as it is a grass tunnelling creature and is vital in nature’s food chain providing for kestrels and barn owls that live in the village.

"Add to that the occasional fox, dormouse, stoats, weasels, hedgehogs, and others these animals are seriously in decline.”

Mr Riddle, an administrator for Hart Neighbourhood Watch, also expressed fears the lockdown is being used to push the plans through.

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He added: “Although the development has gone out for public consultation the timing is alarming. If this had happened in normal times there would have been a public meeting and an exhibition about the development and the Parish Council would have met to examine the plans.”

John Riddle has raised concerns over the impact on local wildlife.John Riddle has raised concerns over the impact on local wildlife.
John Riddle has raised concerns over the impact on local wildlife.

But Gentoo said it values feedback and is running virtual consultations which have been extended from two to three weeks to allow as many residents as possible to participate.

A formal planning application has not yet been submitted but Gentoo hope to in November.

Mr Riddle also said plans for a pond “beggar belief” due to flooding issues in the village.

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Numerous comments against the plans have also been made on the Hart Village Hub Facebook page including that plans for over 600 new homes near the village are in the pipeline.

Anthony Douglas, Operations Director at Gentoo Homes said: “Gentoo Homes is a responsible business and values the feedback of residents on proposed housebuilding plans.

"The restrictions that are in place due to the ongoing risk of COVID-19 mean that we are unable to hold a public consultation event in person.

"We will follow the guidance of the local planning authority and act on any recommendations from their ecology assessment.”

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People can comment on the proposal at Gentoo Homes’ website.

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